The fight to stop the BLM from its plan to eradicate wild horses from private and public land in three herds in the Red Desert of Wyoming is personal for me. On my first trip to Adobe Town in 2004, I fell in love with a gentle, battle-scarred grey stallion and his small, beautiful family. He ran right up to me and I waited, not knowing that this encounter would change my life forever. His filly came up next to her father and it looked as though she grinned at me. I had to keep coming back to see them, learn more about their lives, and photograph them as they as they are best portrayed, wild and free, at home in the dry, dramatic and isolated landscape of the Red Desert. I wrote my first book, Wild Hoofbeats: America’s Vanishing Wild Horses to let people know how magnificent these horses are, and that they deserve to live free.
Over the past 10 years I have traveled to Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek, and Great Divide Basin in all seasons of the year, even the depths of winter. One overwhelming thing stands out for me, after having driven thousands of miles on unmarked dirt roads in these Herd Management Areas – these horses are uniquely suited to this harsh and forbidding landscape and they belong there. They belong there more than the invasive and destructive cattle and sheep, and more than the land wrecking oil and gas drilling.
I am a plaintiff on a lawsuit to stop the BLM from removing over 800 wild horses from Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek, and Great Divide Basin. The roundups are scheduled to start in two weeks. http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/info/news_room/2014/july/18rsfo-removal.html
Without any care for Environmental Analysis, land use planning, or NEPA, the BLM announced its plans to proceed with these roundups and gave the public no opportunity to comment on their plans. Of course, the BLM ignores public comments anyway, but we were not even allowed to make our voices heard. The roundup was announced only 1 month before the start date, barely time to get a lawsuit in place, but we did, and the violations of the law and procedure are so glaring that I believe we have a very good chance of winning and stopping the BLM in its tracks.
Public Land in the Red Desert belongs to the public, that means all of us, not just the Rock Springs Grazing Association. The BLM must not be allowed to get away with pandering to one special interest group.
But I began with telling you that this is personal. These horses aren’t simply numbers or dots on a map to me. I know these horses, having observed many of them for many years. I have seen their foals born, their stallions age and lose their mares. I have seen the young stallions win new families, and have seen foals playing at dawn. These wild horses are living, breathing beings, and they deserve to live their lives in freedom, at home in the spectacular Red Desert. We deserve to have them on our public lands, enriching the landscape and our lives.
Carol Walker is the Director of Field Documentation and on the Board of Directors of Wild Horse Freedom Federation, http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/
What you can do to help:
1. Go to the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board Meeting on Monday August 25, 8-5:30 pm in Riverton, Wyoming and make your voice heard in the public comment session. We want to fill the meeting with wild horse supporters. If you cannot attend, send in your comments. Here is the information: http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/info/newsroom/2014/july/BLM_Sets_Meeting_of_National_Wild_Horse_and_Burro_Advisory_Board_for_August_25_in_Riverton__Wyoming.html
For comments: “Those who would like to comment but are unable to attend may submit a written statement to: National Wild Horse and Burro Program, WO-260, Attention: Ramona DeLorme, 1340 Financial Boulevard, Reno, Nevada, 89502-7147. Comments may also be e-mailed to the BLM (at firstname.lastname@example.org); please include “Advisory Board Comment” in the subject line of the e-mail.”
2. If you can make phone calls, I am going to give you the phone numbers of a few people who deserve to hear from us how we feel about this situation:
Rock Springs Wild Horse and Burro Specialist Jay D’Ewart: (307) 352-0331
Rock Springs BLM Field Manager Kimberlee Foster: 307-352-0256
BLM High Desert District Manager Mark Storzer: 307-352-0256
BLM Wyoming Director Don Simpson: 307-775-6256
BLM Director Neil Kornze: 202-208-3100
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell: 202-208-3100
3. The last thing you can do to help is to donate to the Cloud Foundation legal fund for this lawsuit which you can do here:
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We will post this every ware we can and have been working on the East Coast trying to bring it to everyones attention. Although we are far away and the Courts would rule we have no standing we are mentally, spiritually, and emotionally connected to our AMERICAN MUSTANGS and as most Americans want them left alone. We have a mustang rescue that was found tied to a post at a camp and going to slaughter, the fate of many I’m afraid. He’s been living out his days these past ten years with 50 other horses and he by far is the most rugged of all. The wild DNA by survival of the fittest must be preserved. I for one believe it’s mandated if mankind itself is to survive.
The wild horses belong to all of us and that makes it personal to all those who care about them. I remember the video John Dever made of wild horses in the Red Desert years ago. I wonder what he’d think now.
I am all for saving our wild horses!! But you lost me with,They belong there more than the invasive and destructive cattle and sheep, and more than the land wrecking oil and gas drilling. There is to much destroying of our economy.
Love the cause and agree that we all should help in any way we can.
I’ve never been far enough west to ever see such a majestic sight up close and personal as the wild mustang, yet I know the importance of keeping them around for the next generation to enjoy. We cannot afford to do to them like what happened to the mighty bison of the great plains and the elk of the Appalachian mountain range. What reason could there be?
Dear Carol , this is up close and personal for all us, and has been for me for 20 yrs, They have always filled me with the true real Freedom , to see them on the Ranges gives me chills (gooseys) all over my body, I look at them and see nothing but wild beauty, the Mustangs had me at Hello !!!!!! I feel such Pride looking at them so purely innocent , and so wise , they have just got to be messingers from heaven, and the most wonderful gift ever given to us …. so uniquely perfect in everyway , stunningly beautiful, each one more beautiful then the other…..I would watch them for hours,getting every message and thought they had , they speak with their eyes , their bodies,their Minds they are the Royal Ambassadors of Freedom…… I beg for their Freedom, as long as they are Free to Roam so are we…………………. My alligance to the Mustangs is unconditional and will always be……… They have given so much of themselves throughout History , they belong just as you and I…………………… To Harm them in anyway is unthinkable !!!!
It is personal to me too. ANd millions of others who love this land and take their responsiblity to follow the law and preserve our land for our grandchildren. Feel free to take it personal. You should. These interests are stealing our children’s heritage right in front of our noses. Donate to Cloud for this lawsuit. And write letters. We may go down but we are going down fighting!
I hope all the people that have written here and elsewhere have written or called the BLM to express what they have written. To eradicate the Wild Horses is a crime against our American heritage. It is a treason against the helpless innocent creatures of the land that we should also protect. Dart them to control their populations. It seems that it is cheaper and certainly healthier for them than the inhumane way they are being handled now. Can’t they look at the successful results of darting in the few locations that do so now? The Mustang should be as protected and revered as the American Bald Eagle. They both are symbolic of our Freedom! Please write, call, whatever you can do to help them stop this awful pillage of these icons of the West.
Although the US is not my country I’m passing your information about the wild horses and burros to as many people as I can through Facebook its not just America that needs these wild beauties its the whole world because they are part of a culture and that culture needs to be saved from whomever or whatever wants to destroy the beauty of our world. I have even written to PETA about this and as yet have not received a reply!!!
I pray that our voices are heard and this majestic creature if left to roam forever.
Good luck with the meeting and court case I only hope that we are not too late to save this beautiful breed
God be with you and the Horses
This is up close and personal as well! I adopted a Mustang 30 years ago and she lived almost 29 years. Her name was Rienzi and she truly was a gorgeous force of nature. I miss her terribly! It seems we have been fighting for the Mustang for too many year. The cattlemen just get greedier, they will not be happy until every precious Mustang is gone. I don’t eat beef and this is one reason why, the BLM and the cattlemen are as thick as thieves!!!!!
The wild mustangs are our heritage from an era gone by. We annihilated the Indians and lost most of their culture. Do we have to lose all the beauty that God has given us to enjoy. He gave man care of all the animals and we are definitely not caring for them. Freedom is such a fleeting thing anymore and we need to see that is stays in the deserts with the natural animals to that habitat. If we can protect turtles, fish, birds and such, where is the problem of protecting the mustangs and wild burros. They are so magnificent in their grace and beauty. I have always loved horses because they are so majestic and when treated fairly such loving creatures. BLM needs to go because they do not care for the lands as they are supposed to or they would not strip it of its wild creatures that God placed there.
In a world that appears to be reduced to money only, why aren’t our politicians looking at the high cost of the public lands ranching program?
The public lands ranchers make up less than 3% of our country’s beef supply, and they don’t want to share the land with our wild horses. If they can’t share our public resources with the horses, then perhaps it’s time for them to go and keep their cattle and sheep on their own lands or on private lands that they lease or rent.
Such beautiful horses and pictures.
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